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Do Role Models Matter in Large Classes? New Evidence on Gender Match Effects in Higher Education


  • Maurer, Stephan

    (University of Konstanz)

  • Schwerdt, Guido

    (University of Konstanz)

  • Wiederhold, Simon

    (IWH Halle)


We study whether female students benefit from being taught by female professors, and whether such gender match effects differ by class size. We use administrative records of a German public university, covering all programs and courses between 2006 and 2018. We find that gender match effects on student performance are sizable in smaller classes, but do not exist in larger classes. This difference suggests that direct and frequent interactions between students and professors are important for the emergence of gender match effects. Instead, the mere fact that one's professor is female is not sufficient to increase performance of female students.

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  • Maurer, Stephan & Schwerdt, Guido & Wiederhold, Simon, 2023. "Do Role Models Matter in Large Classes? New Evidence on Gender Match Effects in Higher Education," IZA Discussion Papers 15860, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp15860

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Scott E. Carrell & Marianne E. Page & James E. West, 2010. "Sex and Science: How Professor Gender Perpetuates the Gender Gap," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 125(3), pages 1101-1144.
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    12. Pedro Luis Silva & Carla Sá & Ricardo Biscaia & Pedro N. Teixeira, 2022. "High school and exam scores: Does their predictive validity for academic performance vary with programme selectivity?," NIPE Working Papers 4/2022, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
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    Cited by:

    1. Christina Langer & Simon Wiederhold, 2023. "The Value of Early-Career Skills," CESifo Working Paper Series 10288, CESifo.

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    More about this item


    gender gap; role models; tertiary education; professors;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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